Open Letter to The Executive Governor of Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the State of Preparedness of the State regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic in Lagos State:
You will recall that I did write an open letter after my visit to the Lagos state centre for disease control this week. In that letter, I expressed my concern for the lack of preparedness at the isolation and testing centre and the slow pace of work. It will be an understatement to say that I was disappointed by what I witnessed.
In my letter, I called on subject matter experts and experienced citizens to come together and help fight this coronavirus pandemic. As part of this clarion call, I have decided to make the more detailed observation about the centre available to you hoping that it will help in shaping the strategy required to mitigate this crisis. It is my hope and intention that this will help you in making critical decisions that will help us fight this pandemic to a standstill.
Mr Governor, there are an approximate 20 million citizens in our dear state, this is huge compared to other states who have a lot more land mass, our state of preparedness must compulsorily be on point. We have no room for error.
Firstly, I noticed that light construction and refurbishing was ongoing, but very slow paced. Almost like we had all the time in the world. From my knowledge and observations we are fast approaching the critical stages of the pandemic where we are most likely to witness a surge in cases. We seem to be assuming that the numbers of confirmed cases will remain small.
I was also very disappointed that I had to wait for close to two hours before I could be tested. This shouldn’t be the case as the centre as a one stop shop for Coronavirus should be ready to test multiple patients at a time if necessary.
Furthermore, I noticed that most of the doctors on duty were not protected in fact it was as if they were not in a highly infectious zone. This gave me great cause for concern. It is not only unsafe, it is unacceptable. What would happen if the people who are care givers become ill? It would mean that there would be no one treat the sick.
Just as worrying is knowing that we do not have an adequate supply of ventilators, test kits, protective gear, personnel, medicines and research and test equipment.
Mr governor, I know you must be under immense pressure, but I think it is time for you to personally step into this project in order to fast track the preparedness of the state in dealing with this global pandemic.
I also think you should come out and use the media to communicate the challenges to the public. Saying that Lagos is ready and able to deal with this pandemic is untrue. My reasoning is that if you tell people honestly and openly about these challenges, they will know where the pain points are and those who can will step in and help alleviate some of these challenges.
Let me also bring to your attention the fact that there isn’t a reception where infected patients can go to register nor is there a place where this vital test can be taken securely and biodata recieved before moving them to the isolation area. I took my test out in the open.
I want to believe that the state government is sincerely trying its best to contain the spread of the virus by taking necessary steps but this should be guided by transparency and honesty. People will not be able to help you if you keep giving them the impression that all is well.
The People’s Democratic Party is ready to support you in trying to contain the spread of this virus, we hope that this one week window that has been created through your announcement of a lockdown will give your administration and the ministry of health adequate time to work round the clock using a template that will see a real change and precise actions taken that will yield desirable outcomes.
We should not also forget the millions of citizens that fall into the daily income/low income earners who make their living by trading or working daily as casual workers.
The government needs to seriously consider some sort of palliative for them during the lockdown period in order to forestall a resistance that could only lead to chaos.
Mr governor, we are with you in this struggle and our members are ready to work with you in any capacity to fight this virus together. The Engineering Corp of the Nigerian army and other military personnel should be considered as assets that can assist in speeding up the refurbishing and reconstruction going on at the Yaba isolation centre and other such sites.
I believe it will make more sense to be over prepared rather than under prepared at this critical juncture. Everything must be thrown at this pandemic.
Thank you Mr governor.
God bless Lagos State
God bless Nigeria
People’s Democratic Party
Lagos State Chapter